Thursday, December 8, 2016

So the doc changed my meds and upped the dose. This does not seem to be working. I am back to where I started, I feel like--completely unmotivated, depressed, apathetic. I've gained about 7 pounds. Whatever confidence I had had in myself or my work is gone. I don't think that's how it was supposed to work. I did better on the half dose, so we're going to try that.

I think I've hit like rock bottom again, so like twice now in a matter of months. I mean, before, I just didn't care. I'd go through the motions, whatever. My mom was still around to clean and do laundry, so it didn't matter really. And it's not like then I didn't feel good about myself; I just didn't care, so nothing bothered me. But now, it's different. I don't feel good about myself. We were all running late today because I felt ugly and couldn't get my shit together this morning. It's just straight up foolishness. I've not done any work on the chapter. I've not worked out. My diet is the pits. All the things I've worked so hard on in the last few months have just slowly deteriorated, and I'm frustrated and angry about it now, which I guess that's better than not caring I guess. I guess that's more motivating, but only if it doesn't make me feel like shit about myself, which is where I'm at right now. Ugh.

Maybe it's just anxiety? Maybe if I actually start working out again I'll feel better? I feel like there are a lot of maybes right now.

Oh well, I thought I had more to say. In my head there was a lot to work through, but now there isn't so I guess I'll just read until class starts.

Oooh, okay, here's a positive thing. I think, finally, even though it does mean five days a week of teaching, I think I've got a schedule that works. I'm done by 1pm every day. This gives me the afternoon to work at least four days a week (or do laundry or grocery shop, whatever). In theory, it also means that if I don't work out in the morning, I can in the afternoon, although that hasn't happened yet. But I've been getting work done in the afternoon and sleeping in in the morning and not stressing to be caught up in my classes, so that's something, yes?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I started this post on Saturday. I've been trying to process still a lot since then.

It's a time of transition right now for many of us because of this election. I have found myself, like many other, profoundly saddened not just by the election, but by the response of the country, by the expectation that, unlike the haters of the last eight years, I must "buck up Buttercup" and respect the president, that I am expected to be silent because we don't want to cause any more division in the country, that there is the expectation that I must go quietly into that good night, and I'm wracked with anxiety about what Thanksgiving at my family's this year will be like. Thank god for valium. I will not allow them, their house or not, to spew hate speech in front of my daughter.

It is also a personal time of transition in the Nerd HQ as well. My parents have moved out permanently, which in many ways has been freeing and liberating for me and the J. My sister had her baby (yay!) early apparently, but the kid is so fat and so healthy, we think that she and the doctor were about a month off in terms of the conception and due date. Of course, we can't not have drama about it: "She's having trouble sleeping right now." Um yeah, she's 12 hours old. Of course she's fussy. Newborns fuss.  However, the Magpie was expecting her grandparents to be here at least for a few more days after they left to go home for doctor's appointments (the intent was to return here, stay for a day or two, pack up their stuff and head up to my sister's), but it all happened abruptly, so she's dealing with it in her own toddler way by being fussy, clingy, indecisive ("hold you!" and upon being held "leave me alone! go away!"), and not really sleeping well. Because she isn't sleeping and because I'm not sleeping, we both have colds. And the J is sicker than all of us right now, which is rare.

In the last month, I have been battling TMJ which has been awful not just in terms of the jaw pain, but the valium makes working out tough. But on top of that and the cold, I've also had a painful and enduring urinary tract infection, in part because I was on the wrong antibiotics for the infection I had. They make me sick when I work out. I'm not eating properly. I'm not sleeping properly. And we've gone through so much wine.

While the zoloft and valium are helping, right now, maybe it's PMS, maybe I'm just freaking exhausted AF, but I'm just sad, again. I think I just need some down time.

I think the poor Magpie has been battling her own exhaustion and anxiety as well. She's not sleeping well, and hasn't been for the last two weeks. In part because of this persistent cough (which we are going to the doctor for today), but because things are different around the house for her now, too. she got to see her Gramps this weekend, and he'll be here in a couple of weeks to babysit, but I think she is trying to adjust to her new normal, too. That being said, things are much quieter and much calmer without my parents here. They can't just let her sit and be. There constantly has to be something going on. We get out of the house earlier in the morning and with much less fuss now that they are gone. Granted, the house is messier and it's harder for me to get dinner on the table (but that's in part to my schedule right now, and sickness, and just overall exhaustion and lack of movement) without them here, and it's harder for me to go work out, but we have a calmer child for the most part (when she's rested). And a sort of less whiny child. I mean, we've had some crying episodes every day over things like "go get my x-toy" and I say, "no, you know where it is, you go get it if you want it that badly" which usually results in a meltdown of some kind because she doesn't want to do it, but eventually she will go get her own thing and I don't have to worry about my mom or dad saying, "I'll get it Magpie. Just tell me where it is." No. This is teaching her to take responsibility for her stuff.

As much as I love my parents, and as much as I miss them (and the often convenience of having them to do things like cook and clean and watch the kid--god, I sound awful), and it's been fun and really wonderful reconnecting with my parents after so many years, and I'm thankful for the three years I got to hog them for myself, but the truth is, the J, Magpie and I have never actually been our own little unit. And it's been nice having the J all to myself in the evenings, to be able to do things on our schedule or watch something without waiting for mom and dad to get ready. What's also nice too is knowing that when we do get settled into more of a routine that in three weeks, it's not going to get disrupted again. So hopefully, we'll get some consistency in our lives and things will get better for her as well.

In part of my ongoing search for the best schedule ever that makes my life as balanced as possible, I am playing around with it again, much to my boss's chagrin. What I need is something that allows for flexibility and contingency. Right now, I based everything on working out in the morning, watching a film and reading at night, doing research and grading during office hours. None of that worked out. If I have to work in the morning, then there is no chance, especially if mom is gone, for me to work out. My days are long and exhausting, so I don't ever feel like working out in the evening anyway. And I never take in to account not working out in the morning as a possibility in my schedule. I know, I obsess over my schedule ridiculously. It annoys the J. I know he's tired of it. But I am hopeful that this will not leave me exhausted. It will allow me time to take care of myself and gives me the option of a noon work out if I can't work out in the am. I think it will also allow me more time for food prep and stuff during the week, too. I am cautiously optimistic. We shall see. I just hate being rushed in the mornings and the evenings.

I have other things on my mind, too, but this is way more than enough for now. I want to write more about the election and about my students and how I feel about it. I'll save that for later, which is where this started, but kind of went in a whole different direction.

Friday, November 4, 2016

I need to vent about my annoying student for a moment.

On Monday, I had no reading planned. It was Halloween--I usually show some stupid movie just to give us all a break as we head into the home stretch of the quarter. Everyone is usually pretty stressed, so it just helps us all chill.

Stu: I accidentally read Wednesday's stuff for today.
Me: Great, you're ahead of the game.
Stu: So we're watching a movie and not discussing the story.
Me: Yes.
Stu: But I read already for today. Why are we not discussing the story today?
Me: It's scheduled for Wednesday.
Stu: Yes, but I read it for today.
Me: So, everyone, we're watching a cult classic that's a hilarious Halloween movie.


WTF?

This morning stu tells me that ze was hoping that the syllabus was wrong and that I do have afternoon hours on Friday and that ze emailed me because ze wanted to come in this afternoon. I didn't check my email yesterday because I was home in bed with a painful UTI (oooh, more on that in a second RE: my boss).

Stu: I know you have class after ours, so I was hoping that you'd stay and meet with me after your other class. I emailed you. This is really early for me to be up. (It's 9 am.).
Me (in my head--FUck you!): I never have afternoon office hours on Friday.
Stu: I was hoping the syllabus was wrong.
Me: No.

Ze also asked me to come in on a day I don't have office hours because ze wouldn't be finished with hir draft in time for that day and it wasn't fair of me to schedule something due on a Friday and not be in the office on Thursday. Me: Well, as I told you guys in the beginning of the quarter, there are a couple of things due on a Friday, and I do not have office hours on Thursday. You need to plan ahead.

So, Wednesday morning, pardon the TMI, but I woke up with an extraordinarily painful UTI. I knew it immediately. I went to my office hours because my doctor doesn't open until 8:30, so I couldn't call before then, and if you've had a UTI, then you know that's not something that you just you know, wait out or get to the doc whenever. I had few appointment choices, so I had to cancel two classes (because my doc is out of town), but made it back for my third. I'm still here for my office hours in the morning. I email my students. I put the signs up myself. I take care of all the things I need to do. I go to the office to inform them that I will be leaving to do to the doctor because I woke up with a painful UTI, and needed to get to the doctor ASAP. My boss, when she thinks I'm out of earshot says to the office assistant and THE FUCKING STUDENT WORKER! "I've never in my entire life canceled a class for a doctor's appointment." And then mumbled something else I didn't quite catch.

But seriously. You're going to trash talk me in front of a student??!! Congrats boss on being such a fucking martyr that you've taught through illness and everything else. Good for you. So if I'm running out of class every five minutes to go fucking pee, that's a better solution for you? I guess she was expecting me to get some depends and just pee in a diaper all through class and then go to the doctor on Thursday because you know, UTIs don't go from uncomfortable to awful without treatment or anything like that.

I wanted to punch her in the face.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I am feeling an "out with the old" impulse. One the one hand, it's good. On the other, it means I want to replace old things and have newer, nicer things, albeit fewer things, but I feel a need to just purge and sort of start over.

Perhaps this has to do with the move and getting rid of a bunch of things and enjoying having space and room to move. Perhaps this has to do with the pretty much permanent move of my parents to my sister's--all the other "moves" home have been intended to be permanent, but have always only been semi-permanent as they cannot stand to be away from the Magpie for any length of time. I really, honestly though, do not know how the Magpie is going to handle this move of my parents away from her as they have lived with us for the last three years. We've already had a complete potty training regression. I am worried about sleep and language regressions now, too, which probably aren't likely. Rather tantrums and anxiety and its as of yet unknown manifestations may be more likely. I am looking forward though to getting into some sort of regular routine. My mom can be so manic. So can my dad in that they cannot let the child just sit. If she's quiet they have to go talk to her or disturb her and they cater to her every whim which makes things difficult when it's just me because she expects an immediate response. But I need routine, too, and my parents make it difficult for me to have one because I don't have to, or we get into one and they disrupt it, and it's like starting from scratch every time.

Anyway, back to the shedding of the old...

I have cut off all of my hair. It's about an inch or two all the way around. I wish it were just a bit longer because now, once it's dry, it stands straight up and looks like an 8 year old boy's growing out buzz cut. It has progressively gotten shorter over the last 8 weeks, and I just wanted to be done with it. I like it. I think I'll love it in about two or three weeks. But maybe it's the CF, maybe it's body building, maybe it's the weight loss, maybe it's finally being comfortable with being 40 and having gained a little bit of confidence in myself and I just don't give a fuck, but for the first time having short hair in about 20 years, I actually really love it. I haven't cried over it yet. This is huge for me.

I think part of this too is the depression and the anxiety. I'm trying to settle into a concept of myself who I'm comfortable with. Part of the hair cut, the purging of stuff, the body building (which man, valium makes that hard to sustain right now), is about trying to get to a confident me, a happy me who can set a good example for my kid. Admittedly right now I do feel like crap because of the sluggishness of the valium--it has depressed my appetite and my work outs, when I make them, are like in slow motion, 100% and impossible to get through if I even get through them. I haven't really finished one yet since this whole mouth thing started.

It's odd though. The new meds are helping, if in no other way than I feel good and confident about myself (most of the time, which is a newer sensation for me). I actually give a shit about this book chapter that is going to be a hot mess, but that I know will eventually come together at some point in time.

As I am still on a quest to try to figure out what works best for me and my family in terms of work and my health (working out, make sure I actually cook dinner and go to the grocery), I'm going to go back to teaching five days a week. I wonder if having the work spread out more will be less of an energy drain if it means earlier days every day than if I work three long days and one half day and have a day off. Right now I really need that extra day off, but I think it's because I'm just so exhausted with life that I just need that day right now. While it is affecting my work out schedule, because I do prefer to work out in the morning before everything else, right now it makes more sense for me to work early in the morning. I can get more reading done during that 90 minutes than 90 minutes at night before bed. It makes it harder for me to work out in the afternoon, but right now, work is more important than some future body building competition. I would like to start doing yoga again, too. I would like a life that I love.

It helps having a house that is our home. True, we do not own it yet, but we will, and that makes all the difference right now. There's a lot to be said for having a place of one's own, for feeling rooted and committed to a life (as imperfect and difficult as my job and this part of the country can be, and even though I long for a life for my daughter that extends far beyond this region). It makes me thoughtful and hopeful. It makes me want to care about life.

I'm sure I have more to say on this, but this is it for now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I feel as though the storm clouds have lifted a little bit today.

First, I have TMJ, which really sucks. My face really hurts. I can't wait to see my massage therapist on Thursday and have him work my upper back, neck, head, and face. He'll get in there, too, and straighten all that mess out. I went to the doctor (not just for the depression) in part because I thought I had a double ear infection. Nope. TMJ. The physical pain, however, is almost a welcome distraction from the psychological pain right now. My doctor and I both feel that this is a symptom of the depression and anxiety from which I am currently suffering. He gave me steroids and valium, so that should be interesting. The valium certainly helped me sleep last night and helped me to relax my face and my jaw. And it took the edge off the anxiety a bit, so I'm feeling better this morning than yesterday. Yesterday actually quite frightened me.

We also changed my antidepressants. Though I know they cannot work as fast as one morning, by the time I got home last night from the doctor, I felt infinitely better because I knew that there was at least a new plan in place that was going to help me, and for the first time I felt a bit motivated to do things, and I was more pleasant around the kid and was able to be more present around her. Plus, I also think this morning the valium still in my system has taken some of the edge off of my anxiety, and I can focus a  bit more today and just feel like there is some hope, like I might be able to get back to a point where I can thrive rather than just function? We'll see. Hopefully I can get some more work done the rest of the morning in my office and that should help my mood, too.

Having a prescription for valium though makes me feel like a bored bourgeois housewife from the 80s.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I had a bad weekend. I am headed to the doctor this afternoon.

My depression, which seemed to have been under control last spring, and the beginning of the summer, has resurfaced (as I mentioned I think in my last post). I am overwhelmed with uncontrollable sadness. I am also overwhelmed with apathy, and this is the thing which concerns me the most. I am functioning in as much as I shower and go to work. I am not doing my job particularly well. It is a struggle for me to be in any way prepared for the 400 level class. My energy in my survey classes has tanked. I am not even making the slow progress I was 4 weeks ago on the giant project due in three weeks. 

I cannot focus. I cooked for the first time this weekend in like six weeks? Mostly my mom cooks, but I at least go to the grocery and give her the menu, and this has not been the case in the last month. We've been eating out a lot, or she's been eating tuna salads and stuff. The kid eats hot dogs and sweet potato fries and broccoli. So I am not even doing a very good job in taking care of her. Fortunately, others are around to pick up the slack. I go to functions without make up (which is a sign of apathy for me--I just don't have the energy to take the extra five minutes). I cannot work at night because every single ounce of energy I have goes toward holding myself together for the day.

I am concerned because I don't care if I flake out on this chapter, even though it would be like the biggest betrayal of friendship and mentorship and professional decorum I could think of, and a huge slap in the face, stab in the back, and whatever awful cliche of betrayal you can come up with toward the editor. Generally, wanting to not disappoint this person is motivation enough to get my ass in gear, but I cannot even bring myself to deal with what I need to. I cannot care about anything, let alone myself. 

I cannot deal with stress, major or minor. This morning, I was not going to make it to work as early as I wanted to. I had a complete fucking meltdown in front of the kid who understood the heaviness of my sigh and the immediate headache that formed between my eyes, and she started crying a cry of fright and insecurity and fear of the unknown and I had to hold her all throughout her breakfast to reassure her. I am hurting her with my depression and anxiety, and I cannot have that. I cannot do that to her and the J. He feels the weight of it, too, but is too aware that telling me that I am hurting him will do me more harm than good. Hopefully there is some relief on the horizon this afternoon. 

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 7, 2016

I have a super annoying student, and I have to vent somewhere about it.

The gist of the issue is that said student is an English major and therefore thinks ze is entitled to an A simply because ze is an English major, and that the roadblock in hir writing is not that hir writing needs improvement, but that it's my fault because "every other professor says X is acceptable and I'm the only one asking for Y instead of X, and I'm unreasonable for not accepting X for Y."

If you're an English major, and as good as you think you are, you should a) know the difference between an arguable thesis statement and just a plain statement about the text, and b) know the difference between plot summary and analysis, c) and understand that to simply write your opinion about the text and state it as a claim and not back it up with either appropriate support and analysis of that claim is not analysis at all. If you believe the problem with your writing is because I haven't told you exactly what to think, therefore the grade is my fault because I should have told you exactly what to write, then we are going to have some problems.

Try spending less time writing what you think I want to hear and spend more time actually constructing some sort of argument and supporting it appropriately.

Also, this assignment is 2-3 pages long. If you're as good an English major as you say you are, and as great a writer as you think, you should be able to knock out two pages in your sleep.